Charlotte Willcox is an illustrator and designer from the south of England who has specialized in digital art for 10 years. She obtained a degree in Graphic Arts and Illustration from University in 2019 and has been posting fantastic content to her Instagram (@charlotte.illustrates) since 2015, focused on empowerment and politics. We recently had a chance to connect with her about her work and here’s what she had to say:
Why do you make this type of art? Why are you drawn to this subject?
“I wanted to start creating art about body positivity and menstruation because these subjects need to be normalized. There is still so much stigma surrounding them, and I’m hoping that creating relatable content will help people to realize how there is nothing to be ashamed of.”
What inspires you?
“So many things, I’m never short of inspiration! Sometimes I’ll read an article and it will inspire me to create art or listening to people’s own personal stories. Podcasts, poetry, and watching TV or interviews. I also collect art books and have a LOT of them so I like to flick through them for inspiration, especially for color palettes inspiration!”
Your art has definitely shifted towards female empowerment, can you talk more about what caused this? Did you have a defining moment?
“When I was at college (at 16-18) I took some life drawing classes as I wanted to improve my knowledge of anatomy. I wasn’t very good at drawing full figures, so hoped that taking these classes would help. I ended up really enjoying the classes, and it made me realize how different women’s bodies were. It helped me a lot with my self-esteem as I realized there were so many body types and all of them were so beautiful and diverse! I carried on taking the life drawing classes when I went to University, and I never stopped! At University I started doing my projects around female empowerment, and my lecturers were never really supportive. When discussing projects, they would sit me down and say “You’ve already done a project on feminism, can you choose something else?”. It used to really frustrate me because I was passionate about these subjects and knew they needed to be discussed more. Their negative reactions only motivated me to carry on, and so I did!”
The UK just abolished the tampon tax, how have these new laws personally affected you or the people around you?
“Such a huge victory, we have been waiting for this moment for too long! Period products will now be recognized as an essential item, instead of being classed as non-essential and a “luxury item”. It will mean that period products will become more affordable, and this will make a big difference to those who are struggling with costs – especially during the pandemic. As someone who has heavy periods and spends a lot on products each month, I know this will be such a relief to so many menstruators who experience the same.”
How do you make your pieces?
“I currently use an iPad and an apple pencil, and I draw everything on an app called Procreate. When I’m not using an iPad I use a Wacom Cintiq with either Photoshop or Paint Tool Sai.”
What has been your favorite piece of work you have created? Why?
“Hmm, very hard to say! I’m my own worst critic so it’s hard to choose a favorite. But possibly my vulva diversity piece I created for the Vagina Museum! Because I still have people message me and say it helped them to accept their vulva, and that makes me so incredibly happy!”
What do you hope for the future of period accessibility?
“Although things are changing, we still have a long way to go! Scotland already made the jump by making period products free, which is incredible. Access to menstrual products is a right. Period products are not luxurious items, they are essential and should be free to everyone. We also need to make sure that period products are sustainable as well as easily accessible in the future.”
We absolutely love Charlotte’s art and can’t wait to see what new work comes for her. Charlotte told us that she loves to create art around topics like female empowerment, normalizing periods, body positivity, and politics. This definitely shows through in all of her work on Instagram. Continue to support this awesome artist by heading over to her website https://www.charlotteillustrates.com/ to see her other work, shop her art, and give her a follow on Instagram!